Home daycare workers across Quebec are on strike this morning, with the union calling for increased wages and improved working conditions.
In Quebec, home daycare workers are considered self-employed and receive a subsidy per child instead of an hourly wage.
For the average home daycare worker, that subsidy works out to about $12.42 per hour, the union says. The union wants an arbitrator to evaluate its members' pay scale in an effort to see those wages increase to $16.75 per hour.
Mathieu Lacombe, the province's minister of families, offered to send in a mediator on Sunday night but the union rejected the idea.
Unlike mediation, where the appointed person attempts to bring the parties to an agreement, the arbitrator's decision is binding.
Anne Dionne, a vice-president of the FIPEQ-CSQ union, said the poor conditions and pay are causing a major shortage of daycare workers in the province.
"Professionals are either leaving, closing, or worse — no new ones are interested because of the poor conditions. In total 2,500 positions are vacant across Quebec," she said.
Roughly 10,000 daycare workers are on strike across the province, affecting about 50,000 families.